Gathering enterprise from impunity

nemo eve walle

Senior Member
chinese
Gathering enterprise from impunity, he began babyish hydraulic engineering.
(From The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth/Book II/Chapter II)

I have only seen the usage of impunity is the phrase ''with impunity'', which means not punished for doing something bad. But ''from impunity''? What does that mean?
 
  • Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    It isn't clear, without more context, what exactly babyish hydraulic engineering is, but it's probably something for which he would expect to be punished. Nor do we know what he did earlier, but at a guess, he did something naughty for which he ought to have been punished. Then he discovers that the expected punishment did not happen, he finds himself in a position of impunity. This makes him more enterprising, more willing to take the risk of daring to engage in this baby-engineering, hopeful that he won't be punished for that either.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Impunity' simply means 'not being punished'. Therefore 'from impunity' means 'from not being punished'.
     

    nemo eve walle

    Senior Member
    chinese
    But that still confuses me, in that context, as Edinburgher said, he might do something wrong, so he wanted (''gathering'' means) thinking, devising or inventing a new babyish hydraulic engineering, from the last experience! Even if he did something wrong in the last experience, he learned from the last experience, but not from the impunity. Impunity there means he did something wrong but not being punished.
    My question is, why is it not Gathering enterprise from his last experience, but Gathering enterprise from impunity?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Gathering enterprise' means 'feeling encouraged to try new ways of acting'.

    'Gathering enterprise from impunity' means:

    (a) he did the first deed (whatever it was);
    (b) he was not punished for it;
    and (c) because no punishment came after his action, he felt encouraged to go further.

    It was the impunity - the not being punished - which led him on.
     
    Last edited:

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    No, you misunderstood me. "Gathering" here does not mean to want, think, devise, or invent. It means to muster (WR definition 2 of the verb).
    His experience was the impunity. He had previously done something for which he should have been punished, but was not. So, whatever he had done, he had done with impunity.
    From the experience of impunity (from the fact that he had not been punished), he "gathered enterprise", that is to say the impunity encouraged him to think that his next naughty project (babyish engineering) would also go unpunished.

    Using definition 3 from WR dictionary for "enterprise".

    But this is all still only speculation on my part, because you haven't given us any more context. What does the text before the sentence you quoted say?
     
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